So I stumbled upon an online penpal list recently, and saw some things that made me ponder.
I was scanning through, thinking that I would put one or two people on my 'write to' list... but I ended up leaving empty handed.
The thing was that everyone had conditions. It was things like "only people who write long letters" or "don't write if you are going to stop after a while", or they would have a very particular list of interests that they only wanted to talk about, or one kind of stationery they were obsessed with.
It wasn't so much that I didn't fit there 'conditions'... it was more that when someone puts these conditions or demands on a penpal relationship, I lose interest. I'd feel like my letters would have to measure up to some kind of standard, and that just kills any enthusiasm I have to write.
I do like writing long letters, but sometimes I might want to dash off a quick one. By the way, how long is a long letter anyway??
I like the randomness of letters... that I never know quite what I'm getting in the mail - a postcard, some mail art, an envelope full of magazine clippings, a long newsy letter, a shopping list, a beautiful card, a menu from a cafe.
I have received all of the above and loved them all. The idea of prescribing what someone should send to me just seems foreign.
Plus I never know what I am going to feel like sending... I guess I'm a mood letter-writer!
I suppose the ones who want only 'committed penpals' have been burned in the past, so it's natural to want to avoid that disappointment. But life doesn't come with guarantees... and you can't anticipate what is going to happen. I dislike the idea of locking myself into some kind of contract before the first letter has even been written.
I think the thing that really bothers me though is the negativity that pervades such ads. Instead of spelling out what they don't want, why not talk about what they really enjoy about snail mail? It would be so much more appealling.
Fortunately, I have gained many fab penpals through this blog so I don't need to worry about the fussy ones.
Love from Kaz